How to Setup an Internet Network Connection in macOS

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There are times when you have weak internet connections or experience network issues on your macOS system. Most, if not all, Mac users have had this experience. But as harrowing as it can be, managing an internet network connection in macOS shouldn’t be a problem.

Sometimes, all you need is to master how behind-the-scenes connections work in macOS to make it all happen. Regardless of the MacBook device you’re using, this can be done in just a few steps.

This blog will take you through setting up various internet connections on a Mac and configuring network settings for your MacOS.

How to connect your MacBook to Wi-Fi

Your Mac allows you to use Wi-Fi, an Ethernet cable, or even a personal hotspot to connect to a network that provides access to the Internet. To connect your MacBook to a home Wi-Fi network, ensure you’re within range, and the router is on and functioning properly.

Proceed to check if the Wi-Fi signal is strong enough for your device to detect. Remember that most home Wi-Fi networks are usually associated with private locations. So, they’ll require you to log in with a password for the first time.

These simple steps on how to connect MacBook to Wi-Fi will help you get things over the line. Let’s explore it in detail:

  1. Turn on your MacBook and click the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar’s top right corner. You’ll see a dropdown menu showing all the available network connections.
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  1.  Explore the list of available networks. Some may be public Wi-Fi networks—avoid connection to those and select a home network you trust by clicking on its name.
  2. Home networks are password-secure. So, you’ll have to enter a password before connecting.  Type in the correct password and click Join or Connect.
  3. Your MacBook will now attempt to establish a connection with the selected network. Once connected successfully, you will see a checkmark next to the network name in the dropdown menu.

The process doesn’t end there. To ensure your internet connection works correctly, open a web browser, visit any website, or search for something online. If it works, you’ll have successfully set up an internet network connection on your macOS device.

Remember that you may still encounter some difficulties during this process. You can deal with some issues, but others may require you to refer to your router’s user manual. If need be, contact your internet service provider for further assistance.

Why is my Mac not connecting to Wi-Fi?

Various variables might affect your Wi-Fi connection at home. In most cases, your connection might drop out due to issues arising from the device itself or some originating from your service provider.

If your Mac won’t connect to the Wi-Fi, the first step you should take is to verify if you’ve connected to the correct Wi-Fi connection. Other quick troubleshooting measures include checking Wireless Diagnostics, DNS settings, or the physical hardware.

There are more quick fixes you can employ if your Mac isn’t connecting to Wi-Fi. Let’s explore some of them below:

1.   Check the physical hardware

Sometimes, a simple reboot of your router and modem can work wonders. Unplug both devices, wait for a few seconds, and then plug in your modem, followed by the router. This often resolves minor connectivity glitches.

Another essential step involves updating your router’s firmware. While some routers update automatically, others require manual updates. Access the router’s admin panel via a web browser to ensure your firmware is the latest. Update it to avoid future connectivity issues.

2.   Verify your network connection

Ensure you’re attempting to connect to the right Wi-Fi network. Macs occasionally connect to unintended networks, leading to connection problems. Click on the Wi-Fi icon on your Mac and double-check if it corresponds to the correct network name.

3.   Run the Mac wireless diagnostic tool

If issues persist, consider using Apple’s Wireless Diagnostic tool. This is a network analysis tool in macOS that you can rely on to detect and solve all wireless problems immediately. It often comes in handy when your Mac is connected to Wi-Fi but has no internet access.

Here are simple steps to access it:

  1. Open Spotlight Search on your Mac.
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  1. Type Wireless Diagnostics.
  1. Select the Wireless Diagnostics app icon.
  2. Click Continue on the Wireless Diagnostics pop-up.
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  1. Allow the diagnostic tool to scan your device.

4.   Check VPN and security software.

Ensuring online security with Virtual Private Networks is crucial, but they occasionally affect internet speeds. By encrypting your online traffic and routing your internet connection via remote secure servers, VPNs slow down connectivity significantly.

To speed up Internet on your Mac, consider temporarily disabling the VPN or security software. Alternatively, opt for VPN servers close to you to reduce the time taken to redirect your data.

5.   Restart your Mac or Wi-Fi

In troubleshooting Wi-Fi problems, a restart often works wonders. Sometimes, simple connectivity glitches resolve with a fresh start. If the issues are persistent, then it could be a major hardware concern at play on your Mac or router.

Additionally, turning Wi-Fi off and on after a restart can help your Mac rediscover available networks.

How to connect to the Internet on Mac via USB Modem or Ethernet

MacBooks also allow you to access the internet via USB modem and Ethernet connections. Here is how to connect your Mac to the Internet via an external USB modem:

  1. Access System Preferences in the Dock.
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  1.  Navigate to the Network option.
  1. Choose the External Modem tailored to your connection needs.
  2. Customize your settings to align with your Internet Service Provider’s specifications for a seamless connection.

Want to explore the idea of using an Ethernet connection for your MacBook? Fear not! Here’s how to do it:

Secure a wired internet connection by simply linking an Ethernet cable between your device’s router or modem and the Ethernet port. If your MacBook has no Ethernet port, you’ll need an Ethernet adapter to bridge the connectivity gap.

One thing to note is that you’ll always encounter trouble with some Ethernet connections on your Mac. Some reasons an Ethernet connection may fail to work on a MacBook include:

  • Adaptor malfunctions: If your Ethernet adaptor is still misbehaving despite your earnest attempts, consider replacing it for smoother sailing.
  • Problems with the settings: This could be another potential cause. The solution is reassessing your Ethernet settings through System Preferences > Network > the designated device name > Advanced.
  • Internet inconsistencies: If all seems well, but the connection remains elusive, it might be wise to verify the status of your internet connection elsewhere.

Sharing your Mac’s internet connection with other devices

Facilitating your Mac’s internet connection to multiple devices is sometimes necessary. MacBooks lack a native feature for this purpose. However, leveraging the Internet Sharing option presents a direct solution for sharing your Mac’s internet access with other devices.

To share the connection via Wi-Fi, your Mac must receive Internet through Ethernet, not Wi-Fi. This limitation stems from the Mac’s internet network device, which can receive or emit Wi-Fi signals but not both concurrently.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to initiate this process:

  1.  Access System Preferences from settings.
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  1. Navigate to the Sharing section.
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  1. Activate Internet sharing by selecting Internet Sharing from the left pane.
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  1. Choose Ethernet as the primary source.
  2. Opt for Wi-Fi under To computers using.
  3. Customize your Wi-Fi network by clicking Wi-Fi options and setting up a network name, security protocol, and password.

Once settings are in place, click OK to activate Internet Sharing from the left pane and hit start.

Sharing a Wi-Fi password from your Mac to another device

The need to share a Wi-Fi connection often arises when you’re linked to a Wi-Fi network on your Mac but can’t recall the password for connection on other devices.

If both devices are Apple products, leveraging iCloud’s Sharing feature simplifies sharing Wi-Fi passwords between devices. This enables seamless connection access for you and even your friends.

Follow these steps to share the password between devices effortlessly:

  1. Ensure both your Mac and the other device have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth activated.
  2. Log in to the same Apple ID on both devices if they belong to you.
  3. If sharing with someone else, ensure their Apple ID email is in your Contacts.
  4. On the other device:
  • Navigate to Settings.
  • Wi-Fi (for iPhone or iPad) or System Preferences.
  • Network (on a Mac) and select the desired Wi-Fi network.

As you attempt to connect and are prompted for the password, a notification should automatically appear on your already connected device. This action seamlessly connects the second device to the Wi-Fi network.

Customizing network connection priority on your Mac

With various networking options available, such as Ethernet, Wi-Fi, or iPhone tethering, there might be instances where you wish to guide your Mac in choosing one connection type over another.

Fortunately, macOS provides a solution to set the pecking order of network connections.

This ensures your device connects to local networks and internet resources according to your preferences. To tailor your network connections effectively, follow these user-friendly steps:

  1. Go to settings and Open the network system preference.
  2. Scroll through the adapter list until you reach a gear icon that awaits.
  3. Click on it and dive into the settings.
  4. Opt for the set service order option that pops up. This allows you to tune and organize your network priorities finely.
  5. Drag and drop the network items in your desired order, arranging them based on your priority of usage or preference.
  6. Once satisfied with your personalized sequence, click the OK button.

By defining the order in which various network adapters are utilized, your system intelligently selects and uses the preferred network connection based on your preset priority.

Final thoughts

Knowing how to set up macOS internet connections can transform your device into a connectivity powerhouse. By exploring the options we’ve shared above—connecting to a Wi-Fi network, configuring external modems, or using an Ethernet, you can enjoy a better internet experience than ever.

Remember that you can constantly tailor these internet network connections to suit your Mac’s connectivity preferences. Some of the above-shared user-friendly steps ensure seamless internet access and empower you to personalize your network setup, enhancing your overall browsing and working experiences.

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author on the blog

Stefan Mitrovic

Stefan is a long-time content creator and one of the Stream Mentor's co-founders. He's a tech geek and a Dota 2 player (not even a good one) who wanted to help others become professional streamers and earn from the comfort of their home.

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